Affordable Care Act helps 172,000 Alaskans with private coverage access free preventive services
Nationally Women save nearly $500 million on oral contraception out-of-pocket costs
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today that about 172,000 Alaskans in private health insurance plans are newly eligible to receive expanded coverage for one or more recommended preventive health care services, such as a mammogram or flu shot, with no cost sharing, because of the Affordable Care Act. Nationally, 76 million more Americans in private health insurance plans are eligible to receive coverage for preventive health care services. The new data were released in a report from HHS today.
Under the Affordable Care Act most health plans must cover a set of recommended preventive services like screening tests and immunizations at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers. This includes Marketplace private insurance plans.
“Today’s findings are just one more indicator that the Affordable Care Act is delivering impact to Alaskans,” said Secretary Burwell. “172,000 is more than just a number. For Alaskans, it means no longer having to put off a mammogram for an extra year. Or it means catching a problem early enough that it’s treatable.”
Today’s data are broken down across states, age, race and ethnic group. For example, the report finds that in Alaska 64,000 more women are now eligible to receive coverage for the recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs. Altogether, a total of 106,000 women in Alaska are estimated to benefit from free preventive services. Covered preventive services for women include well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling, and FDA-approved prescription contraception with no cost-sharing.
Recent evidence from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics (IMS) shows that an additional 24.4 million prescriptions for oral contraceptives were dispensed with no co-pays in 2013 compared to 2012, translating to an estimated $483.3 million reduction in out-of-pocket spending by women nationwide.
Of the 172,000 Alaskans with expanded access to free preventive services:
45,000 are children receiving expanded preventive services coverage for immunization vaccines for children from birth to age 18; vision screening; hearing screening for newborns; behavioral assessments; obesity screening; and height, weight, and body mass index measurements.
64,000 are women receiving expanded preventive services coverage for cervical cancer screening, mammograms for women over 40, recommended immunizations, healthy diet counseling for women at higher risk for chronic disease and obesity screening and counseling; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use screening; well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling, and FDA-approved contraception with no cost sharing.
65,000 are men receiving expanded preventive services coverage for recommended immunizations such as flu shots, colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50, healthy diet counseling for those at higher risk for chronic disease, obesity screening and counseling, cholesterol and blood pressure screening, screening for HIV, depression screening, and tobacco-use screening.
To read today’s report visit here
Nicholson (Nicki) J. Massie
Regional Outreach Specialist
US Dept of Health & Human Services, Region 10
Region 10 serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington